Hall St. project to be complete by fall 2017

Most or all of the money for the project will come from grants.

A concept drawing presented to council recently shows a proposed plaza on the waterfront at foot of Hall Street beside the Prestige.

It will be late 2017 before the second half of the Hall St. reconstruction is complete.

Public works director Colin Innes says this summer the city will apply for funding and create detailed designs to augment the general concepts developed so far, and there will be opportunities for the public to see those designs and comment on them.

“Traffic management will become one of the major components of Phase 2,” Innes says.

That’s because of the very busy intersections at Front St. and Lakeside Dr., and the railway crossing between them.

Innes says he’d like to put better turn lanes in the Hall and Front intersection, but there is no room. But there will be significant work put into better storm drainage for that intersection, to counteract its tendency to flood during rainstorms.

The next challenge is the railway tracks. Innes says to conform with new federal safety requirements, the city will have to upgrade its signage and road markings.

Then comes the intersection at Lakeside.

“For people who live here, we are used to it,” says Innes. “But for tourists or visitors it presents some challenges. We’re thinking of putting a roundabout into that intersection.

“Roundabouts can be intimidating but it will be a lot more understandable than hitting this three-way intersection, which is really confusing.”

Then, moving north into what is now part of the Prestige parking lot, the plan is for a plaza or park, which will include terraced steps to the water and perhaps an amphitheatre. The existing gazebo will be moved closer to the waterfront. There will be benches, plantings, and public art.

Along the entire length of Phase 2, the style of Phase 1 that was finished last year will be continued: the same lamp posts, benches, and plants.

On the east side of Hall St., Phase 2 begins at Lake St. at the entrance to the community complex. But on the west side it begins further up the hill, where Phase 1 left off, at the top of the stairs that descend in front of Bibby Orthodontics. The question of what to do with the blocked alley beside Kootenay Co-op Radio will be decided during the design phase this summer but if it is to be changed which it might because its installation last fall was said to be temporary and up for review that won’t happen until the following summer.

As in Phase 1, Innes says about half the cost of Phase 2 will be to replace aging water and sewer pipes under the street work that has to be done anyway, even without the other street enhancements.

Innes estimated the budget for Phase 2 as $6.6 million. Phase 1 cost $4.2 million.

The city will be applying to the Build Canada Fund for the entire cost of the project, but if the city makes a contribution it will come from utility reserves already earmarked for the water and sewer upgrades, and there is also the possibility of funding from the provincial government.

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